I’m psyched about Rosh Hashanah. I’m supposed to say that for spiritual reasons. But really, I like apples and honey.
This week’s Torah portion is about fruit. The first fruit, in fact. We’re supposed to give that up as a sacrifice to G-d. And, surprise, G-d will bless us. Kinda anti-climactic, but not every part of the Torah makes for good TV.
We’re always giving sacrifices to G-d. Animals, plants…heck, one time there was child sacrifice (luckily that worked out OK). It made sense back then to sacrifice animals and plants because we lived in a farm-based economy. Our whole lives were what we had to eat (and for most Jews, it still is!)
I don’t own a farm. I’m not sure I know what “threshing” means and half the Shabbat prohibitions don’t apply to me because I’m not into skinning animals and preparing hide. But I still have to give sacrifices.
The solution: prayer. Our economy now is time and people centered. Time, because time is money. And people centered, because our talent, our energy, our ideas, our creativity are the fuel for the economy…not vineyards and pastures. Prayer is a sacrifice because it takes away our time and it also takes away our ability to think about ourselves and all the things that we want at that moment. We’re giving it up for the Lord. And what are the “first fruits” of prayer? Well you guessed it: the Shacharit service! The morning prayer is the first fruit of the day; the first chance that we get to think about ourselves. Instead, we get to think about G-d.
The best part of Shacharit is breakfast (let’s be totally honest here). I just chugged the best cappuccino on the planet and had a nectarine so delicious that it would make Gordon Ramsey cry like a little girl. Now THAT’S the first fruit!
Rabbi Patrick is the executive director of PunkTorah and OneShul. His passion for food may be inappropriate at times. When he’s not waxing poetic on PunkTorah, Patrick enjoys collecting vinyl records, modern art and goofing off on Facebook.